EU To Ban Single-Use Packaging Used In Hotels & Restaurants

Commission Proposes New Rules for Packaging Reuse and Recycling

The European Commission has issued a proposal to review the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). The objective of this review shall be to further improve packaging design to enable cost-effective recycling, and to reduce packaging waste. This shall include replacing the current Directive with a Regulation, which promises to level the playing-field within the single market.

The current Directive has attempted to harmonise national rules on packaging design and management, reduce the generation of packaging waste, and promote the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste instead of disposal. Despite these measures, packaging waste has been on the rise in the EU. The current legislation has also failed to account for the costs involved in waste processing (e.g. collection and sorting), leading to unrecycled waste dumped in landfills or incinerated.

The proposed review will aim to bring legislation in line with the objectives set out in EU strategies such as the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Among several high-level targets, the EU is aiming to have all packaging placed on the EU market reusable or recyclable (in an economically viable way) by 2030. A key measure in the revision is to significantly increase mandatory packaging reuse and refill rates by 2030 and 2040. This would cover a wide range of products from food and beverages to also large appliances. The proposed targets include, for instance, a 20% refill target for cold and hot beverages in 2030, rising to 80% in 2040.

Such measures collectively aim to achieve a 15% reduction in packaging waste across the EU by 2040. The Malta Business Bureau supports this high-level objective, viewing it as a key component of the overall drive towards a more sustainable EU economy. Waste represents not only a loss of resources, but also leads to environmental degradation, processing costs, and spatial challenges, especially given Malta’s extremely limited land available for such activities. It is consequently in the interest of all actors, including businesses, to introduce measures which minimise waste where possible.

Notwithstanding the importance of waste reduction, some measures included within today’s Commission proposal raise concerns over their practicality and may be excessive when compared to what they are trying to achieve. For instance, the high packaging reuse targets risk downplaying the important role of recycling, and side-lines significant efforts placed by packaging manufacturers and retailers to increase the recyclability of their packaging, as well as the funds already invested to this end.

The proposal is also introducing obligations targeting packaging manufacturers whereby, before placing their products on the EU market, they will need to ensure that their packaging complies with several sustainability criteria, depending on the type of packaging in question. The criteria range from the percentage of recycled content of plastic, whether the packaging is considered recyclable and compostable, as well as the size of the packaging vis-à-vis the item it is holding. The latter is aiming to reduce empty space in packaging, banning practices such as double walls and false bottoms.

Finally, the Commission is proposing a substantial ban on several single-use packaging regularly distributed in hotels and restaurants. The list includes, but is not limited to, single-use packaging for condiments, milks, and sugars; single-use miniature packaging for toiletries and cosmetics; and disposable trays and plates used at the premises. Businesses will consequently have to move towards reusable alternatives to offer these products.

In reaction to the proposal, MBB President Alison Mizzi commented that, “aside from the merits of the proposed targets, which we will analyse further over the coming weeks together with Maltese businesses, there needs to be adequate recognition of the challenges businesses will face in adapting to these new requirements. The proposal is very much expected to lead to a substantial change in the way businesses serve customers, particularly in the Horeca sector. Transitional periods and sufficient flexibility will be needed to account for the high adaptation and set up costs which businesses may face. SMEs will be especially susceptible to these challenges, and they would thus benefit from having suitable financial and regulatory incentives to ease the transition.”

The MBB shall be following this file closely in the following weeks, preparing a deeper analysis of the proposed measures, and putting forward the arguments and concerns of Maltese businesses.

The Road To Decarbonisation

The event served as a forum to discuss the opportunities, possibilities and funding available to assist the decarbonisation efforts of the private sector

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry held its third and final event earlier this week, as part of Malta SME Week 2022, titled ‘The Road to Decarbonisation’. The conference, which was organised in collaboration with the Dublin Chamber as part of the Enterprise Europe Network, served as a forum to discuss the opportunities, possibilities and funding available to assist the decarbonisation efforts of the private sector.

Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber, in her opening speech said “around one third of our energy requirement is associated with transportation. Most of the remaining energy required relates to demand from buildings, one-third of which is for residential buildings. Industry, which is a big energy consumer in many European countries, accounts for a relatively modest 22% of the demand. Commercial enterprises, hospitality and the public sector add up to 46%. So we can make significant gains by improving the energy efficiency of our buildings: our homes, offices, shops, catering establishments and hotels, where most of the energy demands relate to heating, cooling and lighting.”

Minister for Economy, European Funds and Lands Silvio Schembri, in his opening speech, said that, “If the demand for such conferences which discuss decarbonisation as well as any consequent actions and prospective strategies is anything to go by, then it is highly evident that both public authorities and industry stakeholders are placing the achievement of carbon neutrality at the top of their agenda. An increasing number of companies are choosing to take significant actions to reduce emissions, seeking a bolder direction to implement a greener approach to business.”

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Chris Bonett said that the main idea is to ensure that the economy continues to grow in a green, sustainable manner, whilst giving the necessary incentives to businesses and individuals to invest in a more sustainable way by promoting the uptake of electric vehicles in the private sector including the commercial sector.

CEO Dr Marthese Portelli noted that The Malta Chamber walks the talk. “The Malta Chamber continuously drives towards Net Zero. Earlier this year, The Chamber invested in 53 PV panels with the aim of contributing towards a more sustainable and greener economy.” The Malta Chamber CEO also highlighted several policies which The Chamber is recommending in relation to 3 areas: Water, Transport and Sustainability & Planning.

Ing. Stefan De Marco, Policy Executive on Sustainability at The Malta Chamber, explained that due to the extensive use of fossil fuels, GHGs are the cause of Global Warming, the latter being one of the factors of Climate Change. Referring to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), Ing. De Marco showed Malta’s current situation as regards to GHGs and what are the Governments targets are to reach the European Green Deal commitments. It is in this context that both Businesses and the public need to understand the urgency to take on the path to Decarbonise.

Two international speakers gave their insights on how businesses can implement efforts that can lead to decarbonisation. Aisling McCarthy, Higher Executive Officer within the Climate Action and Economic Infrastructure Unit at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, will be sharing a best practice from Ireland on how businesses can start their zero carbon journey through the Climate Toolkit for Business. George Kremlis, Principal Advisor to the Greek Prime Minister on Energy, Climate, Environment & Circular Economy, also addressed attendees by highlighting concrete examples of how Greece is implementing green practices.

The event included 3 panel discussions. The first panel, which was moderated by Rachel Attard (Head of Media and Communication Strategist at The Malta Chamber), discussed ‘Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Retrofits’ and included the following panelists:
• Ing Marthese Vella, Lead Consultant – Risk & Compliance at RSM Malta
• Ing Patrick Spiteri Staines, Managing Director at T4B Services Ltd
• Prof Ing Charles Yousif, Associate Professor Institute for Sustainable Energy
• Ing Joseph Restall, Senior Head – Engineering & Technical Services at Corinthia Hotels Ltd

The second panel discussed ‘Funding for Decarbonisation’ and was moderated by Dr Daniela Grech (Head of Projects and EU Funds at The Malta Chamber). The panel included:
• Alberto Follador, Mandate Officer at European Investment Fund
• Clint Flores, Head – ESG Department at BOV
• Daniela Burlo, Management Consulting Manager at PwC Malta
• Dr Georgina Scicluna, Chief Coordinator, Operational Programme I, Planning and Priorities Coordination Division

Moderated by Kevin Mizzi (Head of Policy at The Malta Chamber), the third panel discussed ‘Future Cities’ and included the following panelists:
• Ing Marco Cremona, Director at Sustech Consulting
• Perit Jacques Borg Barthet, Director of Practice at AP Valletta
• Paul Fenech, Engineering and Reliability Director at Crane Currency Malta Ltd
• Joseph Sullivan, Sales Executive at IQbloc

Reskilling In The Era Of AI

The aim of the event was to discuss: Human Resources, Education and best use of AI in business.

The Young Chamber Network within The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry organised an event as part of Malta SME Week 2022 with the aim of sharing insights on 3 main areas: Human Resources, Education and best use of AI in business.

The President of The Malta Chamber Marisa Xuereb, in her opening statement, said that, “we need to dwell on the reskilling, upskilling and AI and how these feature within the working life of individuals and the economy alike.” She noted that we must ensure that we truly accept what AI stands for, “are we, as human beings, comfortable with accepting the notion that Artificial Intelligence can come up with a more efficient process?”

“Education also plays a vital role. We must ensure that apprenticeships, curriculums and consultations need to cater for future needs,” she continued. President Xuereb also emphasised that training programs need to be more dynamic to keep up with the times while also being short enough to efficiently map gaps within the market.

As part of Malta SME Week, Minister for the Economy, EU Funds and Lands said that, “we have recognised early on the important role that innovative technologies have within this uncertain new world. We greatly endeavour that the latter is embraced by local companies so these can remain ahead of the game while we continue to create the right infrastructure, enabling these same businesses to operate effectively.”

Professor Joshua Ellul, Director at the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies, delivered a presentation on the importance of upskilling and reskilling within the automation era. He said, “bridging the skills gap can only be done by introducing digital literacy at all levels.” He continued by stating that the next steps are to introduce policies and schemes, together with awareness efforts to promote and acknowledge the fact that digitalisation is present in all disciplines. “Due to blockchain, AI, software automation and robotics, disruption is expected. Certain jobs will become obsolete, but new ones will be created, so reskilling needs to be prioritised,” he said.

The first panel during the event discussed education and upskilling. Claudine Attard, Director – Management Consulting at PwC Malta noted that reskilling is all about having the right attitude and mindset. “Employers should have the tools to reskill their employees and should acknowledge the cold hard truth that the skills that their employees possess now may not be enough for the future,” she said. Alistair Buttigieg Vella, CEO at Universal Limited and Jetho Limited highlighted the gap that is currently present regarding soft skills within the education system. “Instilling a mindset of constant upskilling is vital if businesses wish to retain employees,” he noted.

Rachel Falzon, Founder & Owner at Rewired HR Consultants, reiterated the concept that it all boils down to company effort in ensuring that the right training is provided as it ensures that employees not only feel valued at the place of work, but are ready for the world of tomorrow. Ben Vincenti, Co-Founder & COO of Get Hitched, highlighted the challenges that companies are facing when finding people due to the skills mismatch. “There is no level playing field whatsoever. Startups find it incredibly difficult in finding the right employees, and when they do, these are poached by the bigger companies,” he noted.

The second panel aimed at highlighting ways in which AI and tech can be further utilised within business practices. Dr Marthese Portelli, The Malta Chamber CEO, said “We are in a very important juncture in our country. Investing in attitude and aptitude should be a national priority. Although Malta ranks 6th in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) report, our ratings are still quite low, even though above EU average,” she said. Dr Portelli harped on the message that investing in digitalisation efforts, in the right way, is the way forward.

Jaques Barnard, Business Development Manager at Cleverbit Software, explained that 57% of EU companies are finding difficulty in acquiring digital skills, which in turn, will have a major impact on growth. “Being future ready is a must in today’s world! Although automation displaces some jobs, it creates others. Hence, it is vital for business leaders to drive and develop new skills for their workforce,” said Wayne Grixti, CEO at David Sciberras, CEO & Co-Founder at Invent 3D said “Education helped in hammering in the management processes but passion and a positive mindset is what distinguishes the goods from the greats.”

Both panels were moderated by Rachel Attard, Head of Media and Communication Strategy at The Malta Chamber. The event was hosted by Melanie Cuzzoni, Networking Executive at The Malta Chamber.

The Malta Chamber And Malta Insurance Association Sign Cooperation Agreement

Both parties will cooperate to not only share views, ideas and best practices, but also work on creating initiatives intended to educate and raise awareness on the importance of insurance within the business community.

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry have signed a cooperation agreement with the Malta Insurance Association with the aim of enhancing Malta’s economy, particularly in the field of insurance.

Ahead of the signing, Marisa Xuereb, The Malta Chamber President said “together with the Malta Insurance Association, The Malta Chamber will ensure proper take-up and enforcement of insurance policies.”

Both parties will cooperate to not only share views, ideas and best practices, but also work on creating initiatives intended to educate and raise awareness on the importance of insurance within the business community.

Mr. Anthony Cauchi, President of the Malta Insurance Association (“MIA”), expressed his satisfaction at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber and the MIA. The close collaboration between the two would help address certain issues and concerns that the Insurance Sector is facing on an on-going basis.

‘This agreement opens up an interesting phase which would give the Association the possibility of sharing its own concerns with a wider sphere of sectors already experiencing similar challenges. The Chamber provides the MIA an excellent conduit and platform for sharing information and solutions which our Association will be unable to reach on its own. The shortage of human resources is one such challenge which requires a concerted effort and investment if it is to be considered as a career of choice for those embarking on one,’ Mr. Cauchi said.

The agreement was signed by Marisa Xuereb and Dr Marthese Portelli, President and CEO of The Malta Chamber respectively, and Anthony Cauchi and Adrian J Galea, President and Director General of the Malta Insurance Association respectively.

New EU Rules On Short-Term Accommodation Rentals To Promote Transparency And Data Sharing

Malta Business Bureau and MHRA believe the rules are a step closer to a fair level playing-field in the tourist accommodation sector.

On the 7th of November 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation for new rules on short-term accommodation rentals (STR). The rules aim to create more transparency in the short-term private rental accommodation sector. Having risen in popularity in Malta and across the EU, alternative private short-term rentals brought huge benefits to hosts and tourists, but the new model also raised several new challenges to other accommodation operators and local communities. For instance, short-term rentals contributed to increased demand for real estate development with a consequential impact on housing prices and the environment.

The Malta Business Bureau welcomed the proposal for an STR regulation given that this economic activity remains generally unregulated or without sufficient enforcement, to the detriment of legitimate businesses.

MBB President Alison Mizzi stated that, “having a Europe-wide level-playing field through clear and simple rules for the registration and compliance of short-term rentals is essential and everybody stands to gain. Tourists will continue benefiting from a wide range of accommodation choices, traditional accommodation providers can compete on a fair level playing-field, and public authorities will have a more robust legal backing in gaining access to data, which will contribute to a more sustainable tourism ecosystem.”

MHRA President Tony Zahra outlined that, “Hotels and other accommodation providers must adhere to strict regulations to be compliant and in accordance with existing laws and regulations which ensure the safety and wellbeing of guests. MHRA has been vocal over the years at the rampant disregard of these strict rules and regulations by non-licensed and non-compliant accommodation owners who not only fail to abide by these regulations but also fail to pay Vat, Income tax, and Eco-tax on earnings. This has the effect of possibly having substandard accommodation which affects the quality of the Maltese product and a great loss to the exchequer.”

Mr. Zahra added that, “A recent report compiled by Deloitte entitled Carrying Capacity Study of Tourism in the Maltese Islands found that if all the beds available today and those applied for are approved, Malta would need 4.7 million tourists staying an average of 7 nights to achieve an 80 per cent occupancy throughout the year. If one adds the unlicensed and unregulated, then the number of tourists that is required is increased proportionately.”

Mr. Zahra concluded that “It is the Government’s job to ensure that all accommodation providers are compliant with the laws and regulations in force and to take immediate action to ensure a level playing field for all providers of accommodation.”

The STR regulation aims to create a framework which enables public authorities to receive accurate data from online intermediary platforms on users listing short-term accommodation rentals, the number of rented nights, and of guests. This will enable them to use this information to draft and implement better and more effective policies.

The STR regulation is also proposing for the setting up or updating of existent local registration systems that will generate a unique registration number per property. This will need to be displayed on online platforms and verified.

The Malta Business Bureau will be following the EU negotiations in the coming months as well as analyse the proposed regulation in more detail in ensuring that it is aligned with the Maltese businesses’ interests.

Achieving A Sustainable Regulatory Environment

Second edition of SME Week event held by The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Business Registry.

During an event organized by the Malta Business Registry and The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry as part of SME Week under the auspices of the Ministry for the Economy, European Funds and Lands, practitioners and businesses emphasized the importance of striking a healthy balance between the operational and the administrative when running a business to keep the same pace achieved post greylisting. This is within the context of exploring new economic niches and adapting to digitalization.

When addressing the conference Minister for the Economy, European Funds and Lands lauded the important work carried out by MBR over the past few months in relation to the FATF’s decision which was crucial in seeing Malta’s removal from the FATF’s grey list.

Minister Schembri also spoke about the hugely upended traditional processes of doing business and the fact that businessmen, practitioners, and CSPs managed to adapt quickly.

He highlighted that the measure for the introduction of a shared system, by means of a due diligence repository to facilitate documentation storage, is also being studied which would see entities and financial institutions refer to this repository, which would effectively end needless inconvenience.

He said that the joint MBR and The Malta Chamber event held today is a true representation of the spirit and objectives of SME Week, an event that serves as an important instrument in providing our SMEs with a unique opportunity to understand business challenges and improve them.

In her speech, Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber noted that “when we speak about achieving a sustainable regulatory environment, we must analyze what we mean by sustainable.” She noted that sustainability needs to be considered in relation to three different factors; cost, economic growth, and safeguarding our reputation.

“In a time of economic uncertainty and global labour shortage, it is imperative for us to recognize that regulation must not stifle businesses who are already feeling the pinch, and where possible the regulatory burden must be minimized. We must focus on creating the right environment to foster new economic niches which play to our strengths as a country. We must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that we place good governance and due diligence processes at the forefront of our consideration,” said President Xuereb.

On her part, the MBR’s Chief Executive Officer and Registrar Dr Geraldine Spiteri Lucas said that now it is the time to take on board the lessons learnt from the greylist experience and look ahead to attract new businesses whilst ensuring that everything is in place. ‘Diminishing bureaucratic procedures does not mean neglecting regulatory aspects but rather as an opportunity to set eyes on new ventures’ emphasized Dr Spiteri Lucas. Additionally, Malta has grasped the attention of jurisdictions worldwide particularly due to the work done to get off the grey list in a short span of time. ‘It is indeed of great satisfaction to see other jurisdictions look upon us in relation to the FATF experience and the establishment of the BO Register. In fact, a few weeks ago the MBR hosted the EU Global Facility workshop which brought 12 EU member states to discuss the challenges and means to strengthen the BO Register. Moreover, next year the Malta Business Registry will host the Corporate Register Forum Annual Conference which will bring over 60 registers under one roof discussing the future of registries across the globe’ said Dr Spiteri Lucas.

Moderated by Daniel Cassar, Policy Executive at The Malta Chamber, the first panel discussion focused on post-grey listing and expanding new niches. William Spiteri Bailey, Partner at RSM Malta and chairperson of The Malta Chamber Financial Institutions Business Section emphasized that it is vital to ensure that serious investors look at Malta as an appealing jurisdiction and that forthcoming changes, especially those related to taxation, will register greater efficiency by putting departmental digital interconnectivity at its best use. Natalie Farrugia, Senior Desk Officer within the Registry Unit at MBR said “Sustaining transparency requires persistence in getting accurate information. The next steps need to focus on upgrading skills in order to continuously decrease bureaucracy.” Dr. Chris Mifsud Bonnici, Senior Manager – Legal and Regulatory at PwC Malta noted that we must look beyond the grey listing, and serious discussion needs to take place to ease the process of doing business. He added that “we need the right compliance culture and mindset to protect our reputation on jurisdiction without missing the wood for the trees.” Andrew Schembri, Head of Compliance at MBR, noted that the registrar was assigned more powers and resources and highlighted that supervision should not be interpreted as companies being problematic but rather as a means to enhance risk assessment.

The second panel focused on digitalization. Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber said, “there is a global labour shortage and this will not go away anytime soon. Businesses need to optimize their processes to ensure that resources are utilized correctly, with employees prioritized for those tasks that cannot be automated.” Kurt Izzo, Head of IT at MBR, noted that businesses are keen on implementing digitalization actions. He said that, “there was a significant uptake of online services to the current system and digitization of annual returns saved time for companies.” Simon Montanaro, CTO at Melita, emphasized that having a telecommunications and digital infrastructure is vital. He added that,” customers will not tolerate any company not to be real-time in this day and age. Collaboration and support between the private and public sector are crucial, especially with regards to cyber and information security.” Dr Damian Cassar, Senior Professional Officer within the Legal Department at MBR, stated that “more effort needs to be implemented to counter challenges that are still met with single member companies or non-tech conversant directors, particularly at a mature age.”

Commercial Courier 102


The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) has just launched a joint call under the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP). CETP is a Horizon Europe Partnership on joint research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) programming to boost and accelerate the energy transition, building upon regional and national RTDI funding programmes.

Applicants can choose to apply for a joint project linked to a number of so-called Transition Initiatives and Call Modules, including (but not limited to) integrated net-zero emissions Energy Systems, zero emission Power Technologies, storage technologies, zero emission heating and cooling solutions and R&I in clean energy integration in the built environment.

Entities in Malta are eligible for funding in all the Call Modules issued, with the option of requesting up to €500,000 to participate in a CETPartnership proposal consortium. The pre-proposal submission deadline is 23rd November 2022 at 14.00.

More information can be found here: or get in touch with for any queries.

Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP)

Lights Off Across BNF Bank’s Network Of Branches

BNF Bank operates twelve branches across Malta and Gozo, which will now go dark in this initiative.

In an effort to be kinder to the planet, BNF Bank will permanently switch off lights across its branch network between midnight and 6.00 in the evening. The initiative, that will kick off on November 1st, is the latest of the Bank’s measures to decrease its carbon footprint, save energy and take yet another step forward towards environmental consciousness.

“Driven by new realities, and a commitment to our environment, we are emulating governments and other corporates around the world to minimise our environmental impact and reduce energy consumption,” said Karl Dingli, Head of Human Resources, Property & Administration Department at BNF Bank. “We also hope to lead by example and spread awareness of the benefits of reduced energy usage across our community. Our Bank has always been mindful of the impact of our operations on society and on the environment. Indeed, such action is one of the pillars of our ESG strategy. Going forward, our actions will be guided through an adoption of a sustainable trajectory.”

What was once an initiative taken for Earth Hour annually in March will now become a staple measure for the Bank. Power efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint is currently at the forefront of many businesses and BNF Bank is one such institution that will incorporate this simple but powerful measure into its sustainable future.

BNF Bank puts its customers in the centre of all its operations and for this reason their safety is at the top of the Bank’s priorities. The lights off initiative will not include switching off the BNF ATMs lights for security purposes.

BNF Bank operates twelve branches across Malta and Gozo, which will now go dark in this initiative.